Government could reopen investigation of older Ford models for headlight failures

The federal government could reopen an investigation into headlight failures in older-model Ford and Mercury sedans.

A North Carolina consumer group asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration this week to investigate the Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis from the 2003 to 2005 model years. The probe could affect as many as 517,945 cars.

The government investigated headlight failures in those models previously, but closed its investigation in 2009 after finding a defect didn't exist.

But the North Carolina Consumers Council cites 604 consumer complaints and seven crashes due to the issue. It also says Ford dealers are no longer carrying replacement parts even though Ford extended the warranty on the cars' lighting control modules last year.

Ford Motor Co. says it's cooperating with the probe.